Health leaders looking at other alternatives

   WHATCOM — The low-barrier drive-through testing offered for two weekends at the Civic Field Stadium parking lot is too costly to offer again on a regular basis, the Whatcom County Health Department says.

  The pilot testing project was provided by Whatcom Unified Command and the department. They are now developing “new options to improve service delivery in the future,” according to a news flash posted on July 23.

  The drive-through testing operation collected specimens from more than 1,800 people on July 10, 11, 17 and 18.

  “Long lines and strong interest from the community reinforced the importance of providing this type of low-barrier service for local residents in the future. However, the pilot project revealed that the personnel resources required for drive-through testing at this scale and without pre-registration make it unsustainable,” the Health Department said.

  “The staff, volunteer and financial commitment for this testing site was extensive. WUC and WCHD are unable to maintain this commitment moving forward.”

  The four days of the testing cost approximately $126,000 and depended on over 50 volunteers each day. 

  Authorities are exploring alternative approaches to provide a more efficient testing process for the community. Goals include reduced wait times, easier access for county residents who do not live within Bellingham, and accommodations for individuals who do not have access to a vehicle.

  More information about access to testing is available at https://www.whatcomcounty.us/covidtesting.